Former senator Rick Santorum says he respects, but does not agree with, Senator Rob Portman’s decision to embrace gay marriage after Portman’s son came out as homosexual. “I disagree with Rob,” he said “But I agree with him on most other things.”
Portman explained his change of heart in an op-ed published in the Columbus Dispatch on Friday. “I’ve thought a great deal about this issue, and like millions of Americans in recent years, I’ve changed my mind on the question of marriage for same-sex couples,” the Ohio Republican wrote. “As we strive as a nation to form a more perfect union, I believe all of our sons and daughters ought to have the same opportunity to experience the joy and stability of marriage.”
In an interview with National Review Online following his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday, Santorum says that Portman’s decision was “very personal” with “probably a lot of family dynamics at stake.”
“We’re human beings,” he says. “We have to live our lives. I’m sure Rob was in a very, very difficult situation, and one that he had to work through. And I respect that.” But the former GOP presidential contender maintains a strong belief in marriage defined exclusively as between one man and one woman.
“My feeling is that marriage is a bedrock institution of our society, is the absolute essential foundation for us to be able to have any chance of raising up a good and healthy next generation of Americans,” he says. “Every other society in the history of the world has understood it to be that. Nature made it to be that way.”